January 9, 2020
Research: Should You Spend More in Q4 Leading Up to Cyber 5?
Now that the biggest retail weekend of 2019 is over, we can all take a deep breath and review industry trends during those few crucial days for ecommerce businesses from Black Friday to Cyber Monday (and yes, Thanksgiving was huge again as well!). As expected, we had another record year with online sales growing year-over-year during every single day over the “Cyber 5,” as the weekend from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday is increasingly known.
We know what you’ve probably come here for: How much did Amazon dominate in 2019? Despite some high-profile brands like Nike departing, Amazon has announced that Cyber Monday was once again the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history, based on the volume of orders worldwide. Having worked to get dozens of our clients started on Amazon over the last year, it’s no surprise to us that independent, third-party sellers filled that gap by selling more items during Cyber Monday 2019 on Amazon than any other 24-hour period in the company’s history.
If you haven’t made the leap to Amazon yet, or if you have and didn’t see the boost you expected over the Cyber 5 weekend, our team of ecommerce strategists have just today released a quick but comprehensive checklist that should help.
Now, on to more data! According to Adobe, online sales on Cyber Monday were up 19.7% compared to last year, driving $9.4B in total sales. On average, consumers were spending $6.5M a minute on Monday and this rate has reached $11M per minute during the peak hour (11 pm ET – 12 am ET). Adobe had previously predicted that 4 peak hours (between 10:00 pm ET and 2:00 am ET) would drive 30% of all Cyber Monday revenue. Smartphone devices have finally reached $3B in sales on Cyber Monday, nearly one-third of total sales, with a stunning 46% growth year-over-year.
Results are still being tabulated, but many of the Metric Theory’s e-commerce clients also saw a significant increase in sales and conversion rates during the last few hours of the day. This continues a trend we’ve seen every year as consumers are jumping online with the hope to find the final sale and take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.
Black Friday 2019 revenues beat 2018 by 19.6%, which was actually a decline from 23.6% growth last year. Compared to Cyber Monday, Black Friday drove about $2B less revenue, but it still stays one of the most important sale days of the year for all retailers. That’s especially true for retailers with an online presence as brick-and-mortar store foot traffic has dropped for the last two years straight, according to ShopperTrak.
Sales during Thanksgiving this year grew by just 14.5% ($4.2B), a pretty big surprise considering last year it was the fastest-growing Cyber 5 day for online sales. In 2018, consumer spending was up 27.9% over 2017, so this year sales definitely came with a slight disappointment as it hasn’t met industry expectations.
Looking at the sources of sales traffic, paid search stayed at the top with 24.4% share of total sales and was up 5.2% from last year. Direct traffic accounted for 21.2%, further demonstrating how necessary it is to be promoting in the lead-up to the Cyber 5 stretch and diversifying the ways in which you’re getting in front of your audience. People remember and come back to the site directly to scout deals on the major shopping days. Organic search accounted for 18.8%, though bear in mind a significant portion of those clicks will be on brand searches, which are the result of the same type of activity that drives direct visits. Email kept growing by 8.9% year-over-year, with 16.8% revenue portion this year. Retailers get better every year at marketing to their known past customers by personalizing content. Social visits accounted for 8.0% of total visits, and it keeps making stronger influence every year as its visits share grew by 17.5% year-over-year. Though people are becoming increasingly likely to purchase on social clicks on the major shopping days, social advertising is still a great way to raise awareness and “plant the seed” in ways that lead to direct and organic sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, and even beyond.
As of December 3rd, Adobe is reporting $81.5 in online sales so far and it is predicted to hit $143.8 for the whole holiday season, which is about 12% growth compared to 2018. That level of growth is even more striking when we consider that this holiday shopping season is the shortest the calendar can possibly allow based on how the holidays fall this year, a full 6 days fewer for people to shop. That’s between 18% to 25% less time, depending on when a retailer considers the final day of holiday shopping, considering shipping time for online orders.
Though the sprint continues for our team, our clients, and the rest of the ecommerce world, there are already significant takeaways from this year’s Cyber 5 weekend. Sign up for our weekly email (email drop in top-right) for more updates and insights on the holiday shopping season, and if you’re wondering why this shopping season left you behind, talk to our team.